Top Five Reasons We Need Electronic Health Records

Mike O'Brien

New technologies in the world of medicine are undoubtedly improving the quality, convenience and accuracy of health care delivered to patients.

Electronic Health Records (EHRs) are rapidly replacing paper medical records as a better way for doctors to obtain and update their patients’ medical history in a digital format.

Related: The Challenge: Utilizing Patient Information Securely and Seamlessly

EHRs contain the same information found in paper records and files, including patient demographics, billing data, medical histories, vital signs, diagnoses, medications, treatment plans, allergies, immunization dates, radiology images, and laboratory and test results.

They also save money. Here’s five reasons why EHRs are the way of the future:

Patient Safety

All patient want to be safe when they visit their doctor and the complexities of modern medicine carries risks as well as benefits in terms of therapies and diagnostics.

EHRs help in that department. For example, when a doctor prescribes a medicine, a properly deployed EHR system will check it to ensure the dose is correct. It is cross-checked for interactions with other medicines and compared to their list of drug allergies.

Increased Quality of Care

Best practices are now increasingly resulting in evidence-based protocols designed to ensure that patients get treatments which are supported by science and expert opinion.

These guidelines can be modified for a patient's individal reports, but they can serve as a place to start for the majority of patients with common ailments.

Greater Efficiency

Coordination among hospitals, doctors’ offices and a range of specialties is another benefit to patients. EHRs mean multiple stakeholders can access data at any time to update patient information.

More Transparency

Most patients do not have free access to their own test results and medical records, but systems are now in place to change all that. Once they are released by the doctor, many patients can now view their own laboratory and imaging results.

Improved Access

Access to the right care, at the right time and place is what every patient wants. EHRs can be configured to ensure patients are matched up with the right provider for their particular requirements. The use of electronic time stamps can help the making of appointments easier and help fill empty slots in doctors' schedules, allowing for same day appointments that so many patients want.

The implementation of electronic health records is the focus of IDGA’s DoD/VA EHR event in September. For more details, visit